Author Topic: La Salle market values  (Read 3313 times)

Orin, CLC member

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La Salle market values
« on: January 01, 2005, 07:25:45 PM »
I was watching the Barrett-Jackson auction on the Speed Channel today and a really beautiful 37 La Salle coupe came up, apparently fresh from a body-off restoration.  The coupe went for only $26,500, if I recall correctly, and the Speed Channel commentators talked for a minute or two about La Salle market values.  Their take was that La Salle values peaked about 10 years ago, and that they have fallen since then.  They also suggested that part of the problem was that parts are so hard to find that once you buy one, youre stuck paying a lot for replacement parts.

Do the experts on this list agree?  Id be interested in comments both as to the market value of La Salles as a whole -- and, if different, pre-war Cadillacs, too -- and as to the difficulty/cost of finding parts.  


Wayne Womble

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Re: La Salle market values
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2005, 08:49:24 PM »
I wouldn`t hold a lot of stock in anything the Speed Channel commentators had to say about anything. From some of their comments last year about Corvettes, I learned that they were basically ignorant about them. I doubt they know any more about other marks. The argument makes little sense anyway. If you buy a Barret Jackson quality restoration, what parts are you likely to need anyway? Its not like you are buying a basket case and need a bunch of things. The fact is, resto-rods are hot, and some people will pay a bunch of money for them. The cost is inflated on them right now and the Lasalle price was probably about right. I like the resto-rods, but I still like an old original better. Part of the fun of a restoration is the research, acquisition and fabrication of the necessary parts to complete it.

Rhino 21150

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Re: La Salle market values
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2005, 07:13:30 PM »
I have a 1938 La Salle 5019 (4 door sedan) and although I havent bought a lot of parts for it, the few I have bought were easy to find but expensive, sort of. I can get the generator overhauled locally for about $60, but a rebuilt alternator for a recent Buick is now about $100. And the one in my Totyota was $160! It is horribly expensive to fix anything new these days, some of the parts for the ancient stuff just dont seem so high in comparison. Another for instance: I rechromed both bumpers for the 38 for just over $600. A replacement (you dont repair em) bumper for a Ford 2002 Ranger is over $1200. It is a sorry piece of painted steel and not even a step bumper! The La Salle bumpers have more metal. Have you checked the price of a rebuilt engine computer for ANYTHING?
With the existence of Google nothing is too hard to find. I typed in "1938 La Salle bumper" and found more than a dozen sites that had one for sale!
My buddy who runs a body shop said he (personally) wont work on the La Salle. The metal is too hard to pound out! Although he also says that he doesnt worry about the grinder accidentally going through. Of course he is feeling his age like I am.

Bill Sullivan

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Re: La Salle market values
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2005, 11:15:14 PM »

I strongly suggest you stop listening to the Speed Channel or looking towards Barrett-Jackson as the authority on old car values.

Personally, I think 26K for a well restored 38 LaSalle coupe is an excellent price and probably quite a bit more than it would have sold for five years ago.  Saying that LaSalles "peaked" ten years ago is nonsense.  Almost any experienced car collector will tell you that most any LaSalle is a very marketable, lovely, and serviceable old car.

B-J judges everything in comparison to over-restored, over-polished and over-accesorized 55 Chevies or early Corvettes that for some reason are selling out there for hundreds of thousands of dollars.  This is a bubble, and a lot of the air is provided by B-J and the Speed Channel.  Remember what happened to 59 Cads and Ferraris a few years back?  Bubbles do not mean that other cars off the bubble have all peaked and are of little interest to collectors.

If we all listened to B-J, few prewar car are worth collecting, unless they are rodded to death.

Yes, I have two LaSalles.  They are very nice cars and I do not expect them to bubble up at B-J -- except perhaps as a rod (ugh, what a disturbing thought).  They are not particularly difficult to restore or find parts for.  If you can find a decent LaSalle for the 10th of the cost of some hokey rod, I suggest you buy and enjoy it, youll be better off in the end.


Matt V16

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Re: La Salle market. Dont listen to B.J. Read this.
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2005, 11:47:23 AM »
   B.J. is a joke.. You only here what "they" want to tell you.. What kind of fool would spend hundreds of thousands on a Corvette, a 55 Chevy of a Mustang?  What is this crap? Sure they are nice cars but not for that kind of money.. Whenever you see a prewar car come on the block at that nut house, the dumb reporter always makes a comment about how soft the market is for these cars.. These guys should go the Amelia Island, Meadow Brook and of course Pebble Beach.. Go to the RM Auctions and see what is what..  Prewar cars soft??  How about a 34 Packard 12 Victoria? One million dollars, sold at Meadow Brook by RM.. 31 V16 Phaeton, sold $233,800.. 33 V16 Victoria, sold $308,000.. 09 Mercedes Touring, sold $660,000.. 32 Chrysler Imperial convertible, sold $231,000..  29 Model Duesenberg J Murphy, sold $787,500.. 35 Duesenberg Morman Meteor SJ, (maybe we should not count this one) Sold $4,455,000, the same buyer also bought a SSK Mercedes for $7,479,867!.. 36 Packard Super 8 Phaeton, sold $341,000..  For all the LaSalle lovers like myself.. RM sold a very rare 37 LaSalle convertible sedan for $80,000.. A 30 LaSalle phaeton, sold for $115,000.. While if you notice, the 55 Chevys, Mustangs, GTOs, even in well restored condition are topping out in the $30,000 range.. A nice 36 Chevy hot rod coupe done up very well only brought $26,460! Take that car to BJ and Ill bet it would bid well over $50,000! However, this is an extreme as well.. A million for a Packard? Its all about whos auction you are going to.. One leans towards the hot rod and muscle group, while the other leans towards the classics..  In general, both of these kind of auctions are out of control and as I always said and will continue to say, these are not real world numbers.


  • Guest
Old money prefers factory correct cars
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2005, 05:06:00 PM »
New money looking to throw it away will buy the modified cars.

Any rare desireable car will bring top dollar in factory correct restored condition, modified cars cost a fortune to build and lose money when sold.

Only a fool would buy a modiifed car as an "investment" (sic) , or at least a car that will hold its value.

The smart money buys correct cars, not someones wild idea of what they want in a street rod, which most likely nobody else wants the way it was modified .

If you save a vintage car from the crusher that has no real value in correct restored condition I dont begrudge having a little fun with it when you "restore" it, just dont plan on getting more than $ 1.00 per hour for your labor when you sell it.

I have owned two vintage Corvettes and got my money back when I sold them, not that I bought them as an investment.

Porters 2 cents (and a 67 CDV rescued from the crusher, and it will get a little custom)

Yann Saunders, CLC #12588

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Re: La Salle market. Dont listen to B.J. Read this.
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2005, 04:59:16 AM »
BJ?  Yes I know what youre thinking.

These BJ "experts" are a joke.  They are working only to bring water to their own mill.

What I hate most is how they can describe a car as being fully restored to original specs ...when what you are looking at is the 1930 Pinin Farina "Tiger Hunt" car, the 1930 V-16 sliding-roof convertible from Saoutchik (both restored by Fran Roxas), the 1937 Hartmann V-16 (restored in Arizona by BJs own people) or the 1961 Cadillac "Jacqueline" by Fininfarina, REPORTED BY A FRENCH "EXPERT" AS HAVING BEEN BUILT ON A 1959 ELDORADO BROUGHAM CHASSIS (???).  

These cars all are overdone for the sole purpose of achieving high marks at auction.

And people lap this stuff up ...especially the guys on Speed Channel !

Mike #19861

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Re: Old money prefers factory correct cars
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2005, 09:11:24 AM »

 I have watched these B-J auctions with a passing interest. Auctions of this sort are more or less an orgy of buying, and values become quite overinflated for some cars, and remain low for others.

 For me, I cannot justify over $100,000 for a 55 Chev, Mustang, or any mass produced car sold at entry level prices when new. The $1M Hemi Cuda was a joke.

 In the end, these auctions tend to overinflate the values of similar cars sold privately. To judge the true value of a car, is to track the prices for which these cars sell for from hobbyist to hobbyist. A car, or anything will be worth only what one is willing to pay for it. Not as a reflection of some overinflated price of a similar example paid and an auction in a buying frenzy with no lock on logic or rationale.

 To me, modified cars are not, nor will ever be, as valuable as a nicely restored or original car. They are subject to the taste and desires of the builder, and always make compromises as such. While the same can be said for production cars to some extent, the compromises in taste and functionality are far less than a heavily modified piece.

 There seems to be a fascination with these cars lately. It does create a market trend, but in the end, it will be treated as a fad, and values will drop. They reflect the fads and tastes of the times. A nice original car with timeless design will always hold its value. A 1941 Sixty Special, 1967 Eldorado, 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix, 1966 Olds Toronado as well as countless others are timeless designs and will always be good investments. A 1964 Coupe deVille that has been slammed to the ground with 21" wheels and a loud paint job and radically custom interior will never retain any real value.

 Muscle cars are also very hot ticket items these days. Many of which are hopelessly over valued. And now, clones are selling for prices once reservered for the originals! Corvettes, in my opinion, have always been quite over valued, and that has led to a lot of deceit in the market, and thusly the premium placed on documantation. Yes, they were fast and flashy, and overtly American as the finned monstrosities of the 50s, but they were produced in the hundres of thousands over their lifetime. A 1 of 7 example like a 1971 Hemi Cuda 4-Speed convertible in a high impact colour should be more valuable than a 440 auto hardtop, but not at prices reserved for one off factory customs that were truly works of art. Bodies lovingly hand crafted from the finest materials and installed over the finest drivelines and chassis money could buy at the time. Remember how poorly built late 60s early 70s Mopars were built? Quality control to them was but an interesting concept somewhere off in the future. I should have bought that 1967 GTX in the late 70s for $1200! And have you seen what some of these clowns are asking for 318 and 6 cylinder Darts, Dusters and Demons these days?

 So, I would treat these auctions as mild entertainment and not place any stock in the prices cars are sold at. Perhaps some of them are showing general market trends, but that is it. A trip through E-Bay Motors, or the classifieds in Hemmings will be a much more accurate indicator of values. But even then, as this forum has shown quite often, Caveat Emptor!